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General Laws

Section 156. (a) No person shall label, stamp, sell, advertise or expose for sale or permit such labeling, stamping, selling, advertising or exposing for sale any can, jar, or other package containing fruit or food of any kind, or unpackaged fruit or food of any kind, whether raw or prepared, including but not limited to any meat, meat product, poultry, poultry product, fish, bread, wine, or any food containing meat or poultry ingredients or prepared with meat or poultry substance or meat or poultry fat; and

(1) knowingly falsely represent the same to be kosher, kosher for Passover, pareve, or as having been prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards either by direct statements, orally or in writing, or by display of the word “Kosher”, “Kosher for Passover” or “Pareve” in any language or by the display, advertising, use on a label or on any package of any sign or mark in simulation of such word or words, which might reasonably be calculated to cause a reasonable person to believe that a representation is being made that the food sold is kosher, kosher for Passover or pareve, or prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards; or

(2) in any language, knowingly display, advertise, use on a label or use on a package the word “Kosher” in conjunction with the words “style” or “type” or any similar expression which might reasonably be calculated to deceive a reasonable person to believe that a representation is being made that the food sold is kosher, kosher for Passover or pareve, or prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards; or

(3) in any language, display, advertise, use on a label or use on any package the words “Jewish” or “Hebrew” in conjunction with the words “style” or “type” or any similar expression, or any Hebrew letter or word, insignia, six-pointed star or any other mark or word or words with the intention of deceiving a reasonable person to believe that a representation is being made that the food sold is kosher, kosher for Passover or pareve or prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards.

It shall not be violation of clauses (2) and (3) of this subsection if such person makes a good faith effort to display a notice on or within close proximity to such food items or products or in a prominent location within the premises, which is reasonably calculated to inform a reasonable person that such food items or products are non-kosher, not kosher for Passover, not pareve, or not prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards.

(b) No person shall sell or expose for sale both kosher and non-kosher food of any kind, and at the same time display a sign on his door or window or anywhere in front of his place of business bearing the word “Kosher”, “Kosher for Passover” or “Pareve” in any language or any sign or mark in simulation of such word or words or any Hebrew letter or word, insignia, six-pointed star or any other mark or other words which might lead a reasonable person to believe that all food sold in such place is kosher, kosher for Passover, pareve or prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards, unless such person also displays in his window or door a separate sign or lettering upon the same sign which makes a representation that kosher food is being sold, stating “Non-Kosher Food Also Sold Here” in block letters in a size which will call such fact to the reader’s attention or in a size that the attorney general may specify by regulation. No person shall display a sign anywhere within his place of business which represents or denotes a section of such place of business as a special section for kosher for Passover items, and no person shall sell or expose for sale both kosher for Passover and non-Kosher for Passover freshly baked food or food products and display a sign on his door, window or anywhere in front or within his place of business that kosher for Passover food or food products are being sold, unless such person also displays a separate sign or lettering upon the same sign stating in block letters “Non-Kosher for Passover Items Also Sold Here” in a size which will call such fact to the reader’s attention or in a size that the attorney general may specify by regulation.

(c) No person shall advertise for sale in the same advertisement both kosher and non-kosher food items of any kind, if such advertisement bears the word or words “Kosher”, “Kosher for Passover” or “Pareve” in any language or any sign or mark in simulation of such word or words or any Hebrew letter or word, insignia, six-pointed star or other mark or other words which might lead a reasonable person to believe that all the food sold in such place is kosher, kosher for Passover, pareve or prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards, unless such advertisement also includes the statement “We Sell Both Kosher and Non-Kosher Food” in a size which will call such fact to the reader’s attention or a size that the attorney general may specify by regulation. No person shall advertise for sale in the same advertisement both kosher for Passover and non-kosher for Passover items of any kind, if a reasonable person might reasonably believe that only kosher for Passover food is being sold on the premises, unless such advertisement also includes the statement “We Sell Both Kosher for Passover and Non-Kosher for Passover Food” in a size which will call such fact to the reader’s attention or a size that the attorney general may specify by regulation.

(d) No person shall willfully remove, deface, obliterate, cover, alter or destroy or cause to be removed the original slaughterhouse identification tag or any other mark, stamp, tag, brand, label, or any other means of identification affixed to foods or food products to indicate that such foods or food products are kosher, kosher for Passover, pareve or have been prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards and represent the same food item to be kosher, kosher for Passover, pareve, or as having been prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards either by direct statements, orally or in writing, or by display of the word “Kosher”, “Kosher for Passover” or “Pareve” in any language or by the display, advertising, use on a label or on any package, of any sign or mark in simulation of such word or words, or by the display, advertising, use on a label or on any package of the words “Jewish”, “Hebrew” or “Kosher” either alone or in conjunction with the words “style” or “type” or any similar expression or any Hebrew letter or word, insignia, six-pointed star or any other mark or other words which might reasonably be calculated to deceive or lead a reasonable person to believe that a representation is being made that the food sold is kosher, kosher for Passover, pareve, or prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards.

No person shall knowingly sell, dispose of or have in his possession, for the purpose of sale to any person as kosher, kosher for Passover, pareve, or as having been prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards any food or food product which does not have affixed thereto the original slaughterhouse identification tag, or any other mark, stamp, tag, brand, label or other means of identification employed to indicate that such food or food products are kosher, kosher for Passover, pareve or have been prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards, if such a means of identification was originally affixed to the food or food product.

No person shall knowingly sell, dispose of or have in his possession, for the purpose of sale to any person as kosher, kosher for Passover, pareve or as having been prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards, any food or food products to which such slaughterhouse identification tag or any other mark, stamp, tag, brand, label or other means of identification has or have been fraudulently affixed.

Nothing in this subsection (d), except the third paragraph hereof, shall prevent any person from having in his possession solely for the purpose of human consumption any food item or food product or from selling, disposing of or having in his possession, for the purpose of sale to any person as kosher, kosher for Passover, or as having been prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards any chopped meat, or individual cuts of meat or poultry parts if such chopped or cuts of meat or such poultry parts are labeled with the same information as found on the original slaughterhouse identification tag or any other mark, stamp, tag, brand, label or other means of identification attached to the original piece of meat or poultry before such chopping or sectioning occurred.

(e) Any person who sells fresh meat or poultry advertised or represented to be kosher, kosher for Passover or as having been prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards shall retain, on the premises, or in a location within the commonwealth which is readily available, for inspection, during regular business hours, upon request by the attorney general, for one year, a true and legible copy of all invoices and records of cash or charge transactions from the packer or producer of such meat or poultry and all bills of lading and receiving and shipping papers and shall provide these documents, and other evidence of the source of such meat or poultry being housed or sold by that person to the attorney general, upon request.

(f) No person, firm, association or corporation shall sell, offer or expose for sale any food or food product which it has manufactured, distilled, produced, processed or packed if such food or food product is represented as or branded kosher, kosher for Passover, pareve or as having been prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards unless such person, firm, association or corporation provides the name and address of and a letter from the certifying authority which certifies that such products are kosher, kosher for Passover, pareve or as having been prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards, and no person shall misrepresent the identity of such certifying authority in any such letter.

As used in this section, the term “certifying authority” shall include, but not be limited to the certifying organization, rabbi or individual.

(g) The attorney general shall enforce the provisions of this section. Pursuant to chapter thirty A, the attorney general may promulgate regulations to enforce the provisions of this section. The attorney general may enter at any time during business hours upon premises where food represented to be kosher, kosher for Passover, pareve or as having been prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards is sold or exposed for sale and inspect such food, premises or documentation of purchases to determine compliance with this section. The attorney general shall assess civil penalties or fines as a result of any violation of this section.

(h) Any and each violation of this section, section one hundred and fifty-four and section one hundred and fifty-five shall be punishable by a civil penalty or fine of not less than five hundred dollars and not more than two thousand dollars; provided, however, that not more than one civil penalty or fine shall be assessed for violations of this section associated with a single item at a single location. For the purposes of this section, the term “item” shall mean a specific and distinct product, good or commodity. One item is differentiated from another by having a different universal product code for items so coded, and for items not so coded, the item has any distinguishing characteristics compared to another item.

(i) Any violation of subsections (a), (d) or any misrepresentation of the identity of a certifying authority shall be an unfair or deceptive act or practice in the conduct of trade or commerce, and any person aggrieved thereby may seek relief under the provisions of section nine of chapter ninety-three A.

(j) It shall be a complete defense to a prosecution under this section that the defendant relied in good faith upon the representation of a slaughterhouse, manufacturer, processor, packer or distributor or any organization which certifies or represents any food or food product at issue to be kosher, kosher for Passover, pareve or as having been prepared in accordance with orthodox Jewish religious standards.

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